Salford's Carney hit with eight-game ban for racial abuse

Updated: 

Salford Red Devils winger Justin Carney has been given an eight-match ban for racially abusing a Toronto Wolfpack player during the Challenge Cup fifth-round tie last month.

Carney pleaded guilty, but felt a Grade F sanction for verbal abuse based on race/colour was too harsh, with the club saying that he "did not intend his words to be taken in a 'racial' context".

The Australian will now sit out Salford's next seven matches, having already missed one, and was fined £300 after the Rugby Football League's (RFL) Independent Operational Rules Tribunal found him guilty of a Grade F charge on Tuesday.

A Salford spokesperson said: "Justin has today pleaded guilty to a charge of misconduct being that, in the game against Toronto Wolfpack on 23 April he used verbal abuse to an opposition player based on race/colour, although he did contest the severity of the charge.

"Whilst Justin has admitted using the offending words in an abusive manner, he did not intend his words to be taken in a 'racial' context. Justin is an indigenous Australian and is proud of his Aboriginal heritage. He stands firm on the position that he is not nor has he ever been a racist.

"He is grateful that having received several letters of support from within the RFL community both here and in Australia, the Tribunal today has accepted that he is not a racist. He is also grateful for the courtesy and fairness shown to him during the hearing today.

"Justin will now undertake an internal investigation [pending any subsequent appeal] into his conduct by Salford Red Devils. The club takes all disciplinary matters concerning race, creed and religion extremely seriously and embraces the sports strict code of conduct."

Hull FC's Sika Manu was banned for two matches and also fined £300 for a tackle on Warrington centre Ryan Atkins in a Super League clash last Friday.

Catalans Dragons' Luke Walsh will miss the meeting with Leeds Rhinos on Saturday after he was found guilty of using foul language to a match official during the loss at Wakefield Wildcats last weekend.